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The Blerch

December 16, 2013

Have you heard about The Blerch? According to The Oatmeal, this “fat little cherub” is a “fat lazy beast.” And when the long distance runner in the comic is out burning calories, The Blerch follows along saying, “Slow down, Captain Speedypants! Let’s go home! We’ve got gravy to eat and naps to conquer!” For the record, I love gravy. And naps.

The Oatmeal paints The Blerch as a monster. But clearly it’s an angel. I for one have decided that the only way to come to peace with The Blerch is to embrace it and not fight it.

To wit, on Friday was the annual holiday party at the Institute for Advanced Study. Most of the time I try to eat modestly. Perhaps those periods of moderation are successful because I know that it won’t be too long until I let go and enjoy a bacchanalian feast of excess. This certainly qualifies, so I thought I’d share what that looks like.

There are some times when I curse the limits of my human capacity. Eating my way through the breads, cheeses and pastries of Paris was one such time. This buffet holiday dinner was another.

Honestly, I only sampled a fraction of the foods that were out for the taking. But believe me when I tell you that by the end, I couldn’t take one more bite.

It all started simply with an aperitif. I enjoy the way a nice stiff Tanqueray on the rocks with a twist of lime stimulates my appetite. While we were enjoying the drinks and making some chit chat with Mrs. Fussy’s colleagues, we also found time to peruse the wine table.

With a buffet dinner, where the foods will range from light seafood dishes to hand carved roasted joints of meat, there is really only one choice to drink: Champagne. Okay, technically two choices since not all sparkling wine is Champagne. Anyhow, there were two on the list, the NV Roederer from Reims and the Scharffenberger Rose from the Anderson Valley. Both would have been great choices, but we are big fans of the house of Roederer and went with France.

There were tables and tables of food. All of that food could spell doom, so Mrs. Fussy and I came up with a plan. First we’d start with a little plate of seafood appetizers. For me that mostly meant a heap of colossal poached shrimp with cocktail sauce.

Before going back for more cold dishes, we took a look at the the hot items and were floored by the giant, overflowing cauldron of large steamed lobsters. Eyeballing them, they were at least two pounders, and really probably more. The cold dishes were going to have to wait, because it was clearly time for the lobster course.

Wow, that was good. But I was still keen to try some of the salads. Especially since one of them was mostly composed of grilled scallops tossed with a few beans and crisp onions for counterpoint. That was delightful paired with some garlicky green beans and a few slices of prosciutto.

Now on the next trip up to the hot bar, I didn’t even bring a plate. I didn’t think I could take any more. But there was a lonely chef standing at the carving station lording over four gorgeous pieces of meat. One was a porchetta, the other was a bone in veal rib roast, he had a joint of lamb, and a beautiful beef wellington. The chef commanded me to get a plate, and then told me that he was giving me “just a small piece of each.” But as he filled my plate, it was clear that his promise of small pieces was a ruse. Still, I had to try some of the other meats that weren’t on his station. Specifically, they had frenched lamb chops and some sliced duck breast that looked appealing.

Honestly, I thought I could eat it all, but I couldn’t. At least I got to try a taste of everything I was served.

A stroll around the room and a cup of coffee helped me to find the willpower to attempt a few of the dessert choices. I tried a bunch of things, but the winners for me were the simplest bites. The chocolate mousse was good, but I decided to end the meal on a bite of the pomegranate panna cotta.

Just because I knew I was going to be eating a stupid amount of food, I had the foresight to weigh myself before heading out the door for the evening. The scientist in me was curious how much more I would weigh when I got home. Anyone want to venture a guess?


One Comment leave one →
  1. Doug permalink
    December 16, 2013 11:57 am

    Number one rule for successful buffet browsing: don’t eat the jello salad. (Head straight for the shrimp!)

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